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Archive for January, 2013

CEMS Students at the CGV Head Office, after their Biomass Presentation, December 2012

CEMS Students at the CGV Head Office, after their Biomass Consultancy Project Presentation, December 2012

Since October 2012, Celestial Green Ventures have been working with an incredible group of students who are currently studying on the CEMS Masters in Management Programme at the Smurfit Graduate School of Business in University College Dublin (UCD).

The Biomass Consultancy Project, which they presented to us in December, was merely the beginning of a mutually beneficial, on-going relationship between ourselves and the CEMS Programme, and especially the CEMS Dublin group, based in UCD.

We are particularly impressed to see young future business leaders learning about the importance of sustainable business practices by carbon balancing their flights to Dublin, for the first half of their International Master’s Degree Programme, which sees them travel to another CEMS partner university, this semester. (Currently there are 27 Partner Universities spread across a number of countries worldwide).

You can read more about this new sustainable partnership on the university website, and you will hear more about this relationship right here on our Blog, throughout 2013 and beyond, with several exciting initiatives being developed.

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This video, created by the UN-REDD Programme, presents REDD+ as a climate change mitigation mechanism. It also reflects the importance of putting together integrated efforts by countries, organisations and private sector to stop deforestation and forest degradation in order to ensure a better environment for future generations.

 

 

Let us know what you think of REDD+ projects as a forest conservation tool in the comments section below.

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Snap 2013-01-29 at 16.50.41

Back in the 1990’s, topics such as deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and global warming started to be recurrent issues in the social discussion groups. As these subjects gained more visibility, civil society pressured global leaders and the members of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international environmental treaty, to take action against them.

As a result, in 1997, in the third COP, in Japan, the Kyoto Protocol on climate change was created. It set binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto mechanisms (emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation) aimed to help those countries reach their targets. However, the protocol did not include the discussion about carbon emission reductions from avoided deforestation and forest degradation.

As the negotiations on climate change continued, eight years later, in 2005, at the eleventh COP session, the item “Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries and approaches to stimulate action” was introduced. Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, members of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, proposed the discussion of this issue as an important item to mitigate climate change. At that moment, the idea of Reducing Emissions from Avoided Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) first appeared.

During the following two years, different Parties and observers submitted proposals and recommendations on how to use REDD projects to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA). Then, in 2007, at the thirteenth COP, an agreement was reached with the Bali Action Plan, whose action points included the importance of carbon reductions from forests, but left the decision on a REDD regulation for the next Conference of the Parties.

At the 2008 UNFCCC meeting, in Poznan, there were new topics on the REDD agenda,  including forest conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forests carbon stocks, in developing countries. The addition of these new areas to the previous negotiations introduced the concept of REDD-plus or simply REDD+.

In 2009, at the fifteenth session of the COP, the Copenhagen Accord recognised the contribution of REDD+ and its “crucial role” against climate change mitigation and the need to establish a framework for carbon emission reductions, which includes REDD+. From then on, REDD+ programs started to be used by the international community as a new alternative tool against climate change.

To obtain more information on REDD+, read the methodological guidance of use and the work programme on finance for the implementation of activities related to REDD, besides other documents, you can access the REDD+ Web Platform, created by UNFCCC. This web platform also hosts an interactive discussion forum, where countries, organisations and other stakeholders can share information, experiences and lessons learned related to REDD+ activities.

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The main objective of the inventory is to collect data and forest information to improve the understanding of the Brazilian forestry reality. Photo: CGV

 

A National Forest Inventory for the Amazon Biome in Brazil must be implemented and then concluded within 48 months, according to the Brazilian Ministry for the Environment. The main objective of the inventory is to collect data and forest information to improve the understanding of the Brazilian forestry reality, help formulate and implement public policies regarding the subject and integrate national efforts against deforestation. The inventory will assess the quality of forests as well as determine their biomass and carbon stocks.

According to Izabella Texeira, Brazil’s Minister for the Environment, the inventory will be carried out throughout the country, where data will be collected in 22 thousand sampling points, with 4 thousand from the Amazonian region. As part of the monitoring, the survey will enable them to locate points of previous deforestation, identify the current condition of these areas and dertermine what kind of vegetation was lost.

The inventory is an initiative of the Brazilian Ministry for the Environment, financed partially with funds donated by the Brazilian National Bank for Social and Economic Development (BNDES). The standard methodology adopted has been previously tested in the state of Santa Catarina and in the Federal District. Once it is implemented, the forest areas in the states of Rondônia, Mato Grosso and west of Pará will be the first surveyed.

The last time a forest inventory was conducted covering the whole country was in the second half of 1970, with results published in 1983.

Source: Brazilian Ministry for the Environment website

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A stark visual reminder of how land use change can affect the rainforest

A stark visual reminder of how land use change can affect the rainforest. Photograph: Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace.

Global priorities are constantly being pulled in any number of directions by various interested stakeholder groups. It is well established, that the earth is suffering from an increasing scarcity of resources, leading us collectively facing some very difficult decisions, in order to balance a number of competing objectives.

This can be notably illustrated in the vast Amazon region of Brazil. In the ongoing struggle between Agriculturalists and Conservationists; in this emotionally-charged and polarising global debate, the two sides remain steadfast and ready to defend their interests indefinitely.

One side says – Save the forest and you can fight climate change. While the other says that if you – Clear the forest, you can ease global hunger. How could one argue against either of those crucial global objectives?

Having said that, “there are alarming signs that the Amazon is caught in a vicious cycle and the more this great climate regulator is cleared, the less predictable global weather systems will become. That increases the risk of droughts and floods, ruining crops across the world. This in turn, adds to the pressure to clear the forest.”

Many farmers, fuelled by a blasé commercially-driven mind-set, say that the economic incentives outweigh the legal risks. “The ones who follow the rules like me are considered idiots. The ones who break the rules make the money,” said a landowner, Milton Luiz Molfensteiner. “In reality, it has become a contest between economics and the law.”

The fact that over seven billion of us are all competing for the scarce resources available, should now be addressed, not just by some, but by all of us. It is time for some important decisions to be made, both at a local and a global level, and hopefully we can find an equitable balance between these competing objectives.

While great strides have been made in abating deforestation by IBAMA, the Brazilian government’s environmental protection agency, and others in the region, especially since the dark heights of deforestation rates back in 2004 (10,723 square miles was deforested in a year, equivalent to the size of Albania, Haiti or Belgium); there remains an undercurrent of external industrialist pressure groups and organisations that have a vested interest in what form the final enacted Brazilian Forestry Code takes.

The struggle continues in Brazil, despite the record reductions in deforestation rates. The agriculturalists, who are the main catalysts of mass land use change, are contributing towards the devastating loss of inherent, valuable and irreplaceable Natural Capital and the essential Ecosystem Services which are crucial for both human survival & well-being and form the foundation for all human economic activity.

With the impending introduction of the new Brazilian Forestry Code, which is currently under the global microscope and the object of intense lobbying from each side; ultimately only time will tell, if this new and much needed legislation will appease or even suffice in the constant struggle between the demand for Food & Consumer Products vs. our necessity for Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/14/brazil-amazon-rangers-farmers-burning

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Source: stock.xchng

Source: stock.xchng

Bulgaria, Latvia and Slovenia are being asked today by the European Commission (Environment) to urgently improve the air quality in their countries. The action is part of the new approach of the European Commission to keep the air quality high in the European Member States.

Today’s action against the three countries is actually an additional formal notice to the problem that has been previously identified in those countries. Similar to that were the actions taken in November 2012 against Belgium, and 13 other Member States that suffer from high levels of PM10 particles in the air.

PM10 or Airborne particles are mainly present in pollutant emissions from industry, traffic and domestic heating. Constant exposure to those particles may cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems and even premature death.

In accordance with the Commission, the new approach enlarges the scope of legal actions on the issue and proposes more effective ways to keep periods of non-compliance within the allowable limits as short as possible. Under the EU law, Member States are obliged to take the necessary measures to ensure good air quality for their citizens, resulting in legal action if they fail to do so.

According to the European Legislation, Directive 2008/50/EC, on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, the limit of PM10 particles cannot exceed more than 35 times a year the value of 40 μg/m3 for the annual concentration and 50 μg/m3 for the daily concentration.

Source: European Commission – Environment

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Recently, NewScientist magazine published an interactive graphic map, produced with data provided by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, that shows how the average temperatures are changing in the planet from 1880 to the present.

By using the map, it is possible to see the variation of temperatures anywhere in the world, compared to the average temperatures from the period 1951-1980. You just need to pick a spot on the map or search for a specific place. Once you have chosen a location, the map displays a graph with the average temperature variation for each year as well as a five-year variation average.

According to the map, for example, Dublin – where our Head Office is – was 0.53ºC warmer in the year 2012 in relation to the average temperatures for the period 1951 to 1980. To find out the temperature variation of other years for Dublin or different locations, access the interactive map “Your Warming World”.

Picture extracted from "Your Warming Interactive Map".

Picture taken from the “Your Warming World” Interactive Map, created by the NewScientist Magazine

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